17 February 2019
Wang Zhenmin (inset) says Beijing was concerned about Hong Hong's Legco polls but always acted within the law. Photos: Bloomberg,
Wang Zhenmin (inset) says Beijing was concerned about Hong Hong's Legco polls but always acted within the law. Photos: Bloomberg,

Liaison Office acted within law on Legco election: Wang Zhenmin

As concerns continue to swirl around Beijing’s perceived meddling in Hong Kong’s recent Legislative Council election, a mainland official has indicated that the central government was indeed an active player behind the scenes. 

Speaking at a luncheon Thursday, Wang Zhenmin, the legal chief at Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said central authorities had taken a keen interest in the polls and rightfully so.

Asked by a reporter as to whether the Liaison Office was involved in voter mobilization strategies or talked some candidates out of the election, Wang did not give a straight answer but also did not deny such activities.

“Isn’t it what the central government is supposed to do?”, he said, leaving the audience in no doubt about Beijing’s involvement in the election, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Wang was speaking at an event hosted by the Asia-Pacific Law Association under the theme “Rethink One country, Two systems”.

The official said it would have been abnormal if the central government did not care about the election in Hong Kong.

He stressed that everything that the Liaison Office did in relation to the election was strictly in adherence to the Basic Law, which is Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.

Wang remarked that Hong Kong people were “generous” as they even helped some candidates who have been calling for the city’s independence to win in the election.

The newly-elected lawmakers should cherish the opportunity and do a good job in the future by acting fully within the ambit of the Basic Law, he said.

Meanwhile, he advised people against pushing for self-determination or independence, saying such activities will be a waste of time.

Self-determination or independence will be “mission impossible” as no one in the mainland and Hong Kong will approve of that, Wang said.

He said it is “heart-breaking” to see some people try to sabotage Hong Kong with extreme measures.

Hong Kong belongs to all Chinese people, he said, adding that a “sick” Hong Kong won’t be in anyone’s interest.

If Hong Kong plunges into chaos, it will cause very minor damage to China, but will mean a complete loss or a catastrophe to Hongkongers, Wang warned.

As for issues regarding the “one country, two systems”, Wang stressed it is best to maintain the current framework but said that there is room for discussion on how it should be implemented.

Commenting on Wang’s remarks, political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said it is clear that Beijing now has no qualms about expressly interfering in Hong Kong affairs as it wants Hongkongers to accept the fact that the city is part of China.

Nathan law, chairman of the pro-democracy political party Demosistō and a newly-elected lawmaker, said his party will continue to push for self-determination for Hong Kong.

Beijing should take full responsibility should Hong Kong fall into chaos one day, he said.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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